July 9, Kathmandu. There is a long line in front of the District Election Office in Anamnagar, Kathmandu. There are men and women, young and old, lined up on the sidewalk along the Dhobikhola river. They are waiting for their turn to write their names in the voters’ roll.
The Election Commission (EC) has started the process of collecting the names of those who are not in the voters’ list even after reaching the age of 18 from June 20. Those who have been living in Kathmandu from different districts of the country have lined up in front of the District Election Office after the Commission made arrangements for them to register their names from their place of residence.
Shiva Kunwar, 55, was found in the line when she reached outside the District Election Office at 1.30 pm on Thursday. She has not been able to cast her vote in the previous election and this time she has been sitting in line for 4 hours saying that she will register anyway. Saddened by not being able to vote in the local elections, she no longer wants to miss out on such an opportunity.
Krishna Bahadur Basnet of Solukhumbu also stood in line for three hours. Earlier, he did not get a chance to vote as he was in Saudi Arabia for foreign employment. Krishna says, “The name has been omitted from the list. Now, the government has made it a good idea to register the name from the place of residence.”
Pratima Bhandari of Dhading was not able to register her name in the voters’ roll as she was out of the country for employment. But when she came home, she came to register her name as she could not cast her vote in the local level election on April 13.
“Even one of my votes will help the favorite candidate to win the election, so I have been standing in line for five hours despite hunger, thirst and heat,” she said.
It has been 15 years since Nirmala Marhatta of Kavre went to Japan for employment. Now she has come home on leave to register her name.
Meena Timsina of Biratnagar, who was found in the line, had come to the office asking for half a day’s leave to register her name in the voters’ roll. However, she was upset as her turn did not come till half past one in the afternoon.
“Even in the age of technology, people have been tortured by standing in line. If the facility of online form registration had been created, the citizens would not have had to suffer,” she said.
Hari Dhungana of Nuwakot had come to sit in line outside the election office at 9 in the morning. But he is not satisfied with the management of the commission. Stating that they were forced to sit in the line of hunger, he said that the office ignored the time of the public.
Rajni Lamsal of Syangja did not have much interest in politics until the 30 April local elections. But after seeing many young candidates in the last local level election, he also wanted to vote. Sagar Sapkota of Rupandehi has also come to register his name after seeing the discussion of a young candidate in the last local level election.
Ishwar Kumar Darnal of Dolakha does business in Kathmandu. He had not been able to cast his vote as he did not have time to go home to register his name in the voters’ roll. He is happy that the Election Commission has made arrangements for him to register his name from his place of residence.
“Due to the pressure of work, it is difficult to find time for going home only for festivals. Now it has become easier as it is available from Kathmandu,” he said.
Laxmi Karki of Jorpati has come to register her name at the request of her son and daughter. The 42-year-old has not yet voted. “Even the jogis who came here had their ears pierced, so I never felt like voting,” she said.
Roshan Mahat of Dadeldhura, who is studying in class 12, is happy to register his name in the voters’ roll from Kathmandu. “It is the right of every Nepali citizen to exercise their voting right. From now on, I too will become a voter,” he said.
According to the District Election Office, Kathmandu, voter lists are currently being collected from four places in Kathmandu. Voter lists with photographs are being collected from the District Election Office in Anamnagar, Area Administration Offices in Shankharapur and Dakshinkali, District Administration Office and District Coordinating Committee.
One thousand people from Kathmandu register their names in the voters’ roll every day. District Election Officer Thakur Prasad Bhattarai informed that out of them, 500 will be from Kathmandu district and 500 from outside Kathmandu. “There is a lot of pressure as voters across the country can register their names from Kathmandu,” he said.
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